Current accounts become number one fraud target

For the first time, current accounts have become the most targeted financial product by fraudsters.

At least 89 in every 10,000 applications for a current account are being made by an imposter, according to our analysis. The rise during the past year has been driven by an exponential increase in identity fraud.

At the end of Q1-2014, one in three (32%) fraudulent current account applications were attempted by identity thieves – but by the end of Q1-2015 the figure had jumped to nearly half (49%).

The trend has come as criminals continue to probe for weaknesses in the seven-day switching system. As well as offering a quick win for fraudsters withdrawing overdraft facilities, current accounts can also offer criminals a stepping stone to apply for a wider range of financial products using stolen details.

Recent figures from the Payments Council shows that there has been a seven per cent year-on-year rise in current account switching. While fraudsters may be taking the opportunity to test the security of lenders’ systems, increased detection rates are showing that their back-office systems are clearly holding up.

It’s important for customers to take measures to ensure their details remain their own. Knowing what your bank can and cannot ask you for will help you avoid phishing scams.  Making sure sensitive mail is shredded is also important.  Keeping an eye on your credit report can help you spot any suspicious activity.

For those wishing to stay up to date with the latest insights, Experian has launched a new interactive fraud dashboard, the first of its kind in the UK. The dashboard shows fraud rates by financial product as well as regional hotspots and high profile fraud facts. To take a look at the dashboard simply input your details and follow this link. You will also get a copy of our latest Experian annual fraud report.